The Santa Barbara Airport on Monday hosted the John T. Rickard Terminal dedication ceremony.
The ceremony honored John “Jack” Rickard, a visionary and leader whose foresight helped define Santa Barbara today. He was an esteemed attorney and judge, influential mayor, and a native son of Santa Barbara.
The community brought forward suggestions for naming the city’s new airline terminal and in October 2012 the Santa Barbara City Council chose to name the new facility for Rickard in honor of his service and significant contributions to the community.
Rickard was born in 1913 to the Santa Barbara Postmaster James Bickel Rickard and Acacia Teresa Orena. His family lineage traces back to Don Jose Antonio Julian de la Guerra y Noriega, the last Comandante of the Royal Presidio de Santa Barbara.
After distinguished service in World War II, Rickard returned to Santa Barbara with his bride of two years, Marion Ester Foster, and opened a law practice. The couple raised five sons — James, Robert, John Jr., Thomas and Dennis. He soon became an active part of the business community and was appointed to the city’s Harbor Commission. Instrumental in revitalizing Old Spanish Days Fiesta, Rickard served as El Presidente from 1948 through 1949. He brought back honored traditions to the city’s largest civic celebration.
In 1951, Rickard’s political career began with his election as city attorney and then in, at age 39, he ran a successful campaign for Mayor and served two terms ending in 1957. It is under his leadership that the city expanded its borders by extending sewer service to neighboring property owners, attracted light industry to the area; master planned the waterfront, and constructed a new municipal golf course.
Throughout his life he served on numerous charitable and community boards and was named Man of the Year by the Greater Santa Barbara Advertising Club for his many civic and community contributions. He was the first president of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.
In 1968, he was appointed by California Gov. Ronald Reagan to the Santa Barbara County Superior Court bench, filling a new post created by the Legislature the previous year. Judge Rickard, who held the position until 1982 when he retired, was well respected for his firm and fair decisions. Judge Rickard passed away on May 18, 2000.
One of the most significant contributions he made was as the primary architect of legislation that established a marine sanctuary to protect the Santa Barbara coastline from offshore oil development. The legislation included a unique approach to annex the city’s airport property, which allowed for continued growth and improvement of the Santa Barbara Airport.
“We are proud to honor the accomplishments of John 'Jack' T. Rickard — his vision of our city and our airport — so vital to the Santa Barbara economy for both visitors and residents alike,” said Karen Ramsdell, airport director.
The Santa Barbara Airport is a self-supporting enterprise owned and operated by the City of Santa Barbara and serves about 725,000 passengers annually.
— Lynn Houston represents the Santa Barbara Airport.